The last two weeks have captured the people’s imagination on the issue of FDI. Ever since Parliament started, the Opposition was demanding discussion on FDI under rules where voting is required. Congress was averse to this. However the net result shows that the Opposition is in disarray. I do not know why the BJP was asking for voting when they did not have the capacity to organise things. The leaders of the BJP are ill equipped to work and achieve Opposition unity. The net result is that the Congress party has recorded a false victory. I am saying ‘false’ because it is well known that the parties which abstained, walked out or voted in favour of the Congress party are actually not in favour of FDI. What are the compulsions that these parties voted with the ruling party when they do not agree? It is obvious. These are small regional parties which are very vulnerable. They are controlled by one family and the head of the family is embroiled in disproportionate assets cases or corruption charges. CBI is a handy tool of the Government to harass people who are under investigation. The BJP has levelled that charge. It is not important whether it is true or not. But one thing is clear : that small regional parties are vulnerable now to manipulation and blackmail. What I am saying is, and why I am saying this is that this is not good for Indian democracy. The two main parties — the Congress and the BJP, in the perception of the public, it is not clear whether there is actually any difference between their economic policies. When NDA was in power, they were talking about FDI and Congress was opposing it. Now the Congress is in power, Congress is proposing and they are opposing. The regional parties can be manipulated. This is their status. In my opinion what has happened in FDI is not a small matter. For any objective analyst, it will be clear that FDI is only in interest of foreign capital and big Indian capital. It is not in favour of the poor people, though the Government keeps on saying we have consulted all stake holders. What do they mean? Have they consulted the kirana shopkeepers, have they consulted the farmers? They have not consulted. This is the result of the neo liberal economic model which was unleashed by Manmohan Singh in 1991. And a little slow and fast pace, that is the economic model for the last 21 years. Whichever Government came, they followed the same agenda. One thing is clear : that India is on the path of following a neo liberal agenda. Where does that take us? It takes us exactly on a U turn from where we began, when we began our Independence or after Independence, our economic journey. The late Jawahar Lal Nehru understood. He was a western educated man. He was definitely more western than these people who are today ruling the country. Yet he understood that India is a poor country. If we allow western capital, Indian businessman will become rich very fast. India’s corporate sector will grow very, very fast. But the large block of landless labourers, farmers, and other ‘small’ people will be left high and dry. After 1991, I don’t think successive Governments are now concerned about the poor. Slowly, if this carries on — and it looks it will carry on — this is how fascism comes in, even when Hitler unleashed fascism. In today’s world fascism cannot come suddenly. You cannot do away with democracy. You talk of removing Parliament, everybody will rise up in arms. But slow poison is possible today, which is happening with every small thing. Whether it is a 2G scam, whether it is insulting the office of the CAG, whether it is manipulating Parliament votes for FDI, with every such step you are diluting the essence of democracy and slowly giving encouragement to fascism. It is called creeping fascism. The day is not far off when your old powerless democratic institutions will be left like an empty box and the contents would have gone. This is a serious matter. All thinking individuals should put their heads together. We have to find an alternative to this whole set up. If the BJP and Congress both think the same way, we must find an alternative. It is already late but I think the 2014 elections must give us an answer and all right thinking people should start working towards that.
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